BARRIER FREE TREEHOUSE

Hours

The weather is starting to cool off, but before it gets too cold we need to protect the treehouse and its ramp so it remains in pristine condition for many seasons to come. Unfortunately that means we have to close the treehouse for a few days to seal the ramp and floors. We will begin cleaning and prepping on September 11, but the treehouse will be closed during the normal open hours of the 15, 16, and 17th of September. The treehouse will resume normal fall hours on September 23. Thank you for your patience.

Our treehouse hours for the fall have been updated.  The treehouse will be open:
Fridays 12 – 4:30 pm
Saturdays 11 am – 4:30 pm
Sundays 12 – 4:30 pm
The treehouse will be closed on Mondays – Thursdays except for pre-scheduled programs.
*Please call ahead if you are planning a special trip to the treehouse. The treehouse can be closed to the public due to treehouse field trips and programs.

 

As children, most of us share a few similar dreams. We all dream about what we’ll be when we get older and many of us dream about having a treehouse. Some of us are lucky enough to have a treehouse of our own, but for most of us it’s just a dream. Now that dream is a reality for kids and adults alike with a custom built, public treehouse at For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum!

A couple of years ago, a group of kids at a Wild Adventurers program at For-Mar were tasked with presenting a proposal to Genesee County Parks Director, Amy McMillan. Their goal was to prove to her that a treehouse was a worthy addition for For-Mar and that it wasn’t just a cool thought that would lose its luster in a week like so many toys and fads do with kids. After truly impressing her, the Genesee County Parks Commission agreed to adding a treehouse and begun saving funds to make it possible. They also applied to Nelson Treehouse and Supply with a copy of the video from that presentation. Two years later, the Parks Commission had raised sufficient funds and had begun scouting locations for a treehouse when a serendipitous call from Treehouse Masters changed the plans.

Although a treehouse was in the plan, we had no idea that we would end up with a custom built treehouse from the “treehouse master” himself, Pete Nelson, but that’s exactly what happened.  The Parks Commission had a small, but mighty, set of requirements for the treehouse when Nelson Treehouse and Supply began making their plans. The plan was to add additional classroom space because the Visitor’s Center space is operating at capacity and For-Mar’s popularity continues to soar. That meant it needed to hold at least 30 kids plus instructors.  It also needed to be barrier free, allowing even those in wheelchairs to experience the joys of being in the trees.   

It was a tall order, but the crew at Nelson Treehouse and Supply came through with a beautiful AND functional design. It took a little over a month for them to turn that design into a reality, but now visitors of all ages and abilities coming out to For-Mar will have the opportunity to experience a treehouse overlooking the Kearsley Creek. Nestled back in black cherry, red oak, white oak, basswood and butternut hickory trees, the treehouse stands approximately 30 feet above the bed of the Kearsley Creek oxbow and can be accessed be either staircase or the ramp with grades to meet ADA requirements.

On the inside visitors will find tools and equipment for educational programming including a projector, binoculars, microscopes and some unique elements you won’t find in a traditional classroom. The treehouse has an additional level of excitement as it was designed to be the headquarters for The Preservers, the Nature’s Superheroes that Genesee County Parks visitors have come to know.

We would love to share all the details of the construction process and the inside with everyone.  However, the build is going to be featured in a January episode of the Animal Planet show Treehouse Masters and you will be able to follow all the details then.  We will send out additional information as that date gets closer.